Road Trip Highlights Between Los Angeles and San Francisco

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Easily one of the top road trips in the world, the drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco on America’s golden west coast takes in unbelievable scenery, a variety of terrific beach towns, and a selection of activities. Each year many thousands of travelers take this trip in their RV rentals, and all it will take is the first couple hours of this journey to make you see why. There are just so many highlights to this journey that it would be hard to put them all on one list, so please read below to check out some of the top highlights on this famous drive.

The Coastline

Much of the drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco takes place on the legendary Highway 101 which runs along the Pacific coast. This drive features unbelievable panoramic views of the coast and ocean. These are some of the most gorgeous sunsets you will ever see, and the overall vibe of the area is eclectic and laid back. As you get further north, the coast becomes more rocky and the seas rougher, with many opportunities for seal spotting and other wildlife. The Pacific coast is one of the most diverse and scenic waterfronts in the world, and your LA to San Francisco road trip will allow you to see much of it.

Santa Barbara

Just north of Los Angeles you will come across the beautiful coastal city of Santa Barbara. This eclectic and laid back community has everything you need for a perfect stop on your trip. There are gorgeous beaches to experience, much shopping and nightlife options, and a wide variety of fine places to eat as well. The locals here are friendly and at ease, plus there are a number of beach front hotels and fine bed and breakfasts to stay in when in town. When it comes to classic southern California beach communities, Santa Barbara is near the top of the stack for sure.

Santa Cruz

Speaking of great beach communities, Santa Cruz should most definitely be another stop on your trip. What started out as a small surfing community has blossomed into a hip coastal mecca featuring a number of top rated restaurants, a wide variety of unique boutiques and shops, and of course the nearby coast offering terrific water views and out-of-this-world sunsets. If you plan on choosing several places to stop and spend the night, then Santa Crus should most certainly be on your list.

Big Sur

One of the most unique and scenic places in the entire country, Big Sur is an absolute must on any west coast roadtrip. Here you will find rock cliffs dropping into the ocean, miles of undeveloped rocky coastline, a large amount of hiking and other outdoor activities, not to mention a lively and eclectic local community. The world famous Esalen Institute is located here, where you can relax after all those hours on the road in a refreshing thermal bath. There are a number of fantastic and top-rated restaurants in the area and lots of quirky boutiques, bookstores, and more. Overall Big Sur is a scenic and unforgettable destination that you will definitely want to experience when on your trip. There is no better place for roadtrippers to park their RV rentals for a few days of exploration and fun.

Marin County

Just outside of San Francisco lies this lush, beautiful stretch of land which combined an eclectic and laid back populace with some of the most beautiful scenery in northern California. This land stretches from the rocky coast with its seal sightings and amazing sunsets to sweeps of grassy meadows and dense redwood forests, punctuated by quant towns full of great shops and places to eat. Exploring Marin County has long been a tradition for West Coast travelers, so make sure to hit up this region before you reach San Francisco. Many a traveler will tell you that you surely won’t regret it.


You really can’t go wrong with a stop in Monterrey. This is what southern California is all about, featuring a sunshiny mix of epic scenery, good vibes, and a great community, Monterrey has a colorful history and is rightfully a legend in the state and beyond. Here you will find everything from surfer hamlets to tech industry haunts and everything in between. Great food is to be had, plus a diverse range of sights from coastal beauty to redwood forests. Monterrey is definitely the best of all possible worlds when it comes to California.

There is no time like the present to join the thousands of RV rentals that make the great southern Californian journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco each year. With so many terrific stops to make along the way, this really is one of the top road trips of the American landscape.

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